Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: Jonathan Broxton, Santiago Casilla, Jonathan Papelbon, more

by Tim Heaney on July 6, 2012 @ 11:55:44 PDT

 


KFFL.com's Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat series gives you no-nonsense ratings of performances, injuries and managerial decisions in MLB bullpens. Get your arm loose: Let's find fantasy baseball players in your rotisserie or head-to-head baseball league who'll get saves.

Job security (JS) score 1 (unstable) to 5 (untouchable)
Health (H) score 1 (injury-prone) to 5 (durable)

Kansas City Royals

Closer: Jonathan Broxton
Understudy/Fill-in: Aaron Crow, Greg Holland
Lurkers: Kelvin Herrera, Louis Coleman

FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal whisper that the Royals are willing to ship out Broxton at this year's trade deadline. KC's masterpiece plan to flip this house has produced a 2.05 ERA and 20 saves while Brox fills the gap left by Tommy John patient Joakim Soria.

Of course, the renovations he's made to his game hide a less than sturdy statistical foundation. He's allowing more contact than ever, posting his career-low strikeout frequency (6.54 per nine), has been fortunate in stranding runners (82.2 LOB%) and carries ominous FIP (3.36) and xFIP (3.96) indicators. At least his grounder penchant counteracts these warnings, to some extent.

If he's sent packing (his owners should make contingency plans), the Monarchs boast capable fill-ins. The front-runners look like Crow, Holland and Herrera. Crow, their most common eighth-inning setup man in 2012, received merely a whiff of the role when Soria struggled last year. Holland earned consideration this spring but lost to Brox, and since returning from the DL in mid-May, he boasts a 1.61 ERA in 22 1/3 innings. Herrera's a talented dark horse with stopper stuff that should already occupy an AL-only roster spot.

Ned Yost could institute a committee without Broxton. Usage dictates that fantasy players should side with Crow. Raw ability points to Herrera, whom Morosi and Rosenthal included with Crow when speculating on KC's alternatives. The best combination of skill and deployment is Holland.

It's tricky, and unfortunately, someone in your AL-only or deep mixed setup will act in the near future, well before any move is made at the Royals' back end. It could be a revolving door if Broxton is wearing different threads on Aug. 1. Happy hunting.

Job security score: 4
Health score:
3

Mound meetings

Though a key error on his part helped sink him, Santiago Casilla shared some blame with his defense in his unsuccessful Thursday save chance, his third in his last four opportunities. The San Francisco Giants' righty allowed a leadoff double on a slightly hung slider, bobbled the subsequent sacrifice bunt, yielded an RBI single to officially blow the save and watched an unsuccessful double-play attempt (punctuated by a shaky throw to first) as the losing run crossed the diamond.

Casilla's location was spotty, but so was his infield's leather. Bruce Bochy has stuck by his RP when more facets of a BS fell on his shoulders, and he had only one botched chance before June 24. But the right-hander remains on shaky ground thanks to that 10.80 ERA in his last four appearances. Have Sergio Romo handy or on roster for speculation.

***

It was a horrific bottom of the ninth for Philadelphia Phillies stopper Jonathan Papelbon Thursday night. He gave up a leadoff double and notched two outs. But he walked the next batter and allowed two singles - one of which deflected off his glove before he stumbled while fielding it - to blow the save and lose the contest. The New York Mets put together some grinding at-bats to steal one.

Paps' peripherals aren't far off his body of work, but he's being hit harder and more frequently while failing to reach his typical level of empty hacks. In his last five outings (4 2/3 innings), he has an 11.57 ERA and both of his blown saves on the season.

The Phightins won't yank him - there's no one else in the 'pen that comes close to threatening him - considering his track record and 17 other successful conversions that came outside a one-week period. He just needs to correct some flaws.

***

Alfredo Aceves might have even more time to feel secure in the Boston Red Sox's closer role. Andrew Bailey (thumb) will need about eight to 10 minor-league frames, which extends his MLB absence another 15 to 20 days, per The Boston Globe's Peter Abraham. It's more realistic to expect Bailey to return to the bigs in late August or early September.

***

Frank Francisco (left oblique strain) is targeting a Saturday session to throw off a mound. New York Mets skipper Terry Collins speculates Frank Frank will require at least four rehab outings before being deemed ready to resurface.

He'll likely boot Bobby Parnell from the closer role upon his return, at least initially, but the Metropolitans are still making calls about RP help and might bring in an established option that could take the chair away from Francisco. Owners of both Mets should make arrangements to prepare for such circumstances.

Other Thursday saviors

Chris Perez (24), Indians  
Joel Hanrahan (22), Pirates Walked a pair but escaped
Jason Motte (19), Cardinals 1-out job
Kenley Jansen (15), Dodgers 3 batters, 3 K's - we'll just call it "The KJ" from now on
Addison Reed (12), White Sox 2 K, clean frame
Ernesto Frieri (11), Angels  
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Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat | AL depth charts | NL depth charts

About Tim Heaney

Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.

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